Ontro, Inc., the American company with a patented technology for self-heating containers, announced on September 19 that it received a directive from the United States Army to begin the prototyping and delivery of the group ration packages. This follows the completion by Ontro of Phase I research and development (R&D) of the contract signed with the United States Army Soldier Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM) in September 2000. Ontro was awarded a contract with SBCCOM to conduct R&D of self-heating technologies for military applications, more specifically for use in rations for 18-person platoons. Mr. Don Pickard, Team Leader for Food Equipment and Energy Technology with SBCCOM, stated, "The Army has been working with Ontro to develop self-heating meals for our troops to ensure all soldiers are afforded a hot meal." "We are pleased with the initial work that we have seen from Ontro and believe that the 'kitchen-in-a-carton' they are prototyping will go a long ways towards reducing the costs and logistics associated with military field feeding." "We believe that the applications which we have developed in our lab for the U.S. Army will also serve to expand Ontro's future with the military, as well as its commercial clients. A direct commercial derivative of this work would be development of multi-course, self-heating meals for people anywhere," said James A. Scudder, President and CEO of Ontro .